Review: Pyre — Human Hecatomb

I met an absurdly large pig while visiting a local pumpkin patch a few days ago, and we developed something of a bond over the course of the ten minutes I spent watching him be gross. I’d give him a corncob, and he’d eat it happily, but only after thrusting it to the bottom of a two-foot deep pit of mud. He would snort in delight, I would snort back in solidarity. Time stood still. I felt a connection with the pig, even while surrounded by the frightened gasps of children and parents disgusted by his unprecedented filthiness. How could this creature enjoy rolling back and forth in refuse and eating entire troughs of unidentified slop? He was nothing more than an abject insult to all things they considered decent. A monster. Yet I identified with him. Why?

Because that pig wasn’t just a pig, dudes. That pig was you and me. We too have an affinity for what others find foul and repellent. How often do we take pride in the fact that adjectives like “filthy” and “repulsive” translate to the highest compliments in our music reviews? How often do we complain about production being too polished or too clean? We’re pigs. And we like it nasty.

The guys in Pyre are cut from the same never-washed cloth, and their debut full-length, Human Hecatomb, is an ode to nasty. It’s determined to free you from the sparkling, soullessly overproduced trash stacking up around you every day. Pyre opt for stomping the ever-loving shit out of the ancient path, now unfortunately less traveled, in both production and style. Though hailing from Saint Petersburg, Russia, they’ve clearly made their pilgrimage to Sweden to worship at the shrine of the Boss HM-2, and their guitars have been endowed with the power of the buzzsaw tone originated by Nihilist and later Entombed.

Pyre

But — and pay attention here OSDM revival bands — nailing your guitar tone isn’t all it takes to make a good album. Believe it or not, songwriting is important in death metal, and if you’re willing to learn, Pyre can teach you what you need to know. In Human Hecatomb, riffs interact with coherence, solos are right where they belong, and smart pacing keeps the listener engaged all the way through.

Album opener “Merciless Disease” kicks things off with a sloppy bass drive, eventually joined by a Martin Van Drunen-inspired growl and an appropriately Asphyx-ish groove, which sticks around just long enough to wear out its welcome before a quick transition takes us to higher speeds. That breakneck-but-systematic deviation is one of many illustrations of Pyre’s deathgrip on songwriting and exactly the kind of thing that manages to keep a worn out, 20 year-old style interesting in Human Hecatomb.

 

You’ll find that Pyre puts more stock in the heavy mid-paced stomp than Dismember or Unleashed did. In classic albums like Where No Life Dwells, those bangers were held in reserve and unleashed sparingly. When they did pop up, they packed a serious punch. Here, they’re pretty much everywhere. While some of that novelty is lost in the glut, the riffs are so well-designed that it’s essentially a non-issue. When you hear the ones in “Flesh to Poles” and “Cursed Bloodline,” you’ll scowl, nod in appreciation of adept riffcraft, and wish they lasted forever. There’s still plenty of tremoloblasting and doomy, Autopsy-borrowed dirges to balance them out, often overlaid with the reverbed-out, slithering-entrail leads reminiscent of fellow revivalists Repugnant.

Dym Nox’s vocals are just what the doctor ordered, generally switching off between channeling the aforementioned Van Drunen and a more deranged, phlegm-spewing Chris Reifert. His voice is an effective vehicle for the delivery of those catchy old-school choruses directly to your brain, to which they’re bound to cling like a viscus slime. “Merciless Disease,” “We Came to Spill Thy Blood,” and “Disturbia” take you back to a simpler time, when you could buy a candy bar for a quarter and death metal choruses were just the song title growled repeatedly over a filthy riff.

You’re not going to find anything new or groundbreaking here. If you’re looking for something fresh, look elsewhere. Human Hecatomb is old, nasty, and rotten, but it’s old, nasty, and rotten done right. I dare not flush it.

NO FLUSH

Human Hecatomb is out now via Chaos Records. Get it here and like these guys on Facebook.

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Published on: November 4, 2014

Filled Under: Reviews

Views: 1983

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  • sick tunes bro

  • King Shit of Fuck Mountain

    Fucking rips.

    • I knew you’d like this, you dirty bastard.

      • King Shit of Fuck Mountain

        I’m so transparent.

        • You’re like a heavily tinted window covered in mud.

          • He’s more like a heavily cvnted void covered in Satan.

          • The Satan Ov Hell

            Not just any satan, nihilistic satan. Hail Nihilitan

  • JamesGrimm

    retread.

  • i like all the prising that’s getting the old school swedish HM-2 guitar tone.. that’s what Earth needed

  • Nordling Rites Ov Karhu

    Sounds awesome, the riffs are ripping. But something is missing, the spark in the void that once occupied my cold heart remains un-ignited.

    • King Shit of Fuck Mountain

      Once you go void, you never go back. The void is eternal.

      • Stockhausen

        So are sparks for posers, or should there always be a spark in the void?

        • Simon Phoenix

          A spark is what gives one that fleeting moment of hope. And then what makes that hope being snatched away as the suffering continues all the more sweeter.

          • Stockhausen

            I have so much to learn.

  • Please note the TRIPLE BLEH at the tail end of the song.

    • Xan

      One BLEH is common. Two BLEHs is starting to get crazy. Three BLEHs? A whole new realm of possibility and festering death has opened.

  • W.

    Show us your hog?

  • W.

    I hope that pig taught you how to squeal. Also, solid review.

  • Xan

    This album is terrific! Nearly drove off the road from the deathly filth.

    • Hail! And welcome to the desolate land of an OSDM review’s comment section.

      • Xan

        I’m not hard to impress with OSDM. I like pretty much any piece of music from that era.

      • Simon Phoenix

        Ha ha I was wondering if anyone noticed that.

  • Heard the bass tone, am hooked. Thanks a lot

  • Stockhausen

    You’ve chosen the best opening line to a review, regardless of the thing being reviewed.

  • Xan

    On the subject of tasty, old-school death metal, one of the my favorite bands Revel in Flesh just released their new single today. Dat artwork. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xkl1HReA-S0

  • Simon Phoenix

    Great review. I’m going to have to get on this.

    Russia’s becoming a force to be reckoned with in metal. These guys, Pseudogod, Odem, Infest, and a couple of others. Putin must really be on some Regan shit over there.

  • Lacertilian

    Sick track, sick review and sick band name.
    I’m in.

  • Max

    This I can get behind. These guys have made a deep study of the OS Swedish DM vibe: riffs, vocal style (even the way they’ve got the echo on the voice), solos, drumming rhythms used…even the group photo reminds me of that time. Nice kick-drum sound too.

  • Tyree

    Fucking Nice!